The following piece of 300 word “flash fiction” was inspired by actual experiences.
Only after three circuits of the supermarket did he feel he must ask.
“Bovril? Can’t you find it? You mustn’t be looking in the right place.”
“Well, I tried with the drinks and I tried with the spreads and I tried with the gravy, and I can’t see it anywhere.”
“Did you look with the drinks? Some people drink it, you know. Or what about with the Marmite?”
“I tried with the drinks and I tried with the spreads.”
“I’ll check the computer.” The woman took a tablet from her pocket and typed in “Bovril,” a smile came across her face. “Aisle 7, Section 10, you were looking in the wrong place.” She led them to shelves stocked with varieties of gravy.
“I did look here.”
“Well, the computer says it is here; if it’s not, then we don’t sell it.”
At the back of an adjacent shelf, he caught sight of the familiar red label. It was not where the computer said it was; did that mean it wasn’t there? He didn’t ask.
“There it is,” said the woman, who turned and walked away.
At the hospital, the receptionist spoke to him without raising her eyes from the monitor. “Fourth Floor, Room 10; take the lift and then turn left. Next please.”
Reaching the fourth floor, short of breath, he turned left. Knocking at the door of Room 10, he explained who he was. “Sorry,” said the doctor, “but you have been sent to the wrong place.” Wearily, he returned to the ground floor and queued again for the reception.
“I don’t understand,” said the receptionist, still not looking at him. “The computer says Room 10 on the Fourth Floor. Are you sure you went to the right room?”
Exhausted, he looked across the desk, “Do you sell Bovril?”